Thrombotic microangiopathy after kidney transplantation

Transpl Int. 2006 Oct;19(10):789-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2006.00354.x.


Two forms of post-transplant thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) may be recognized: recurrent TMA and de novo TMA. Recurrent TMA may occur in patients who developed a nondiarrhoeal form of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) being particularly frequent in patients with autosomal recessive or dominant HUS. The recurrence is almost the rule in patients with mutation in complement factor H gene. Most patients eventually lose the graft. Treatment with plasma infusions or plasmapheresis is often disappointing, but few cases may be rescued. Intravenous immunoglobulins and rituximab have also been successful in anedoctic cases. De novo TMA is rarer. A number of factors including viral infection may be responsible of de novo TMA, but in most cases TMA is triggered by calcineurin inhibitors or mTOR inhibitors. The clinical presentation of de novo TMA may be variable with some patients showing clinical and laboratory features of HUS while others showing only a progressive renal failure. The prognosis is less severe than with recurrent TMA. Complete withdrawal of the offending drug may lead to improvement in many cases. The addition of plasma exchange may result in graft salvage in about 80% of cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Complement Factor H / genetics
  • Graft Survival
  • Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Microcirculation / pathology
  • Mutation
  • Recurrence
  • Risk
  • Thrombosis / etiology*


  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Complement Factor H